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Semi-Truck Crashes: Big Rigs, Big Injuries and Big Settlements

By Burg Simpson

auto injuries

August 31, 2015   Colorado Blog, Colorado Personal Injury

When a semi-truck crashes into a smaller conventional vehicle, serious injuries and death are the tragic yet frequent result. Their sheer size and the force with which they can barrel into other vehicles on the road can turn semis into deadly weapons in the wrong circumstances. Often, the victims of truck-car accidents that do survive have a right to recover for the injuries they sustain, with a whole host of parties and individuals potentially liable for making such victims whole again.

Stacked odds
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, passenger vehicle occupants comprise the majority of deaths in large truck crashes. Among the factors that contribute to this reality are trucks’ weight (20-30 times greater than passenger vehicles), their height, which can result in the tops of vehicles getting sliced right off when they slam into trucks, and their braking capability, or lack thereof. On average, a loaded tractor-trailer stops 20 to 40% later than a car. In the last year for which data is available, 3,602 people died in crashes with large trucks, with 67% of these deaths represented by occupants of cars and passenger vehicles.

Take a break
As if issues with vehicles were not problematic enough, truck driver error is also a major factor in crashes. Many truck operators “keep on truckin'” despite serious fatigue and sleep deprivation. This can be a recipe for disaster on long hauls when drowsy driving can get the best of even the most experienced truck driver. Speeding is another factor in many crashes, exacerbating the braking issues trucks can experience.

Crash victims deserve compensation
When drivers and passengers in conventional vehicles are injured in accidents with semi-trucks, the law provides that they are entitled to be compensated. In a recent truck-car accident case, a Denver jury awarded a woman from Littleton $770,000 for the injuries she sustained when a tanker sent her car and three other vehicles into Clear Creek. The truck driver rounded a curve at an excessive speed and later pled guilty to careless driving, which he added to the other six recent violations he had on his driving record. As is the case in many such accidents, the driver’s employer was liable for the victims’ injuries.

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